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United Way campaign reaches $1.5M

• Jan 2, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Greater Ottawa County United Way announced last week that it has reached the 60 percent mark of its $2.5 million goal for the agency’s 2017-18 annual community campaign.

Funds raised during the campaign are invested back into the local communities United Way serves.

Currently, 55 programs run by 41 nonprofit organizations in Ottawa County receive funding, as well as several initiatives and collaboratives. These programs improve the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of Ottawa County residents.

The community campaign wraps up March 20 at the agency’s annual Celebration event.

Campaign co-chairpersons Mark and Lori Wilson said that United Way staff and campaign volunteers are aiming to raise at least 8 percent more than what was raised last year.

“That will get us to our goal of $2.5 million,” said Mark Wilson, a Huntington Bank official. “They are leaving no stone unturned as they strive to meet increasing needs among the community partner programs, initiatives and collaboratives supported by the campaign.”

Lori Wilson added: “Ottawa County has proven itself to be a generous community that cares deeply about those in need. We are thankful for the donors, volunteers and businesses who invest their time, talent and treasure.”

Mark Wilson said he’s encouraged by the progress.

“I’m especially encouraged by the nearly 200 local businesses who give, advocate and volunteer all year long to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” he said. “They are creating lasting change throughout the county and beyond.”

Businesses showing an increase in their United Way workplace campaign are: Great Lakes Castings LLC, Manpower, Good Samaritan Ministries, Zeeland Architectural Components, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Woodward Inc., Greater Ottawa County United Way, North Ottawa Community Health System, Shape Corp., Trans-Matic Manufacturing Co., Haworth and the Chamber of Commerce in Grand Haven.

“Local businesses and their employees make up a huge part of our giving base,” said Patrick Moran, the local United Way president. “Without them, our community would not be what it is today. We would like to recognize two corporations that have, together, given more than a half-million dollars toward this year’s campaign: Shape Corp. and Haworth. They lead the way and set an example of how companies can make a powerful impact in their communities.”

Ottawa County residents who are not part of a workplace campaign can donate to United Way and search for volunteer opportunities online at www.ottawaunitedway.org; text “Ottawa” to 91999; or mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, P.O. Box 1349, Holland, MI 49422.

As an incentive, first-time donors who pledge or donate $1 per week ($52) to the 2017-18 community campaign, or any previous giver who donates or pledges $52 more than he/she pledged in last year’s campaign, will be entered into a drawing to win an all-inclusive, four-night stay plus airfare for two to the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. More information is available at www.ottawaunitedway.org/prize-drawing. No campaign dollars are used to purchase this incentive. This trip is provided by campaign sponsors.

Continuing a 14-year tradition of matching gifts, anonymous donors have committed $80,000 in matching dollars for new and increased leadership gifts of $500 and above from residents of Ottawa County and anyone who donates through an Ottawa County workplace campaign. So far, 289 leadership gifts worth $453,522 have been received, with $67,431 in new or increased gifts that are eligible for the $80,000 match.

“This means that just $12,569 more in new and increased LLC gifts are needed to make our $80,000 challenge match,” said Louann Werksma, the local United Way’s director of major gifts and planned giving.

To learn more about leadership giving, visit: www.ottawaunitedway.org/lighthouse-leadership-circle or contact Werksma at 616-610-1338.

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